Research has fueled our work since the very beginning. From developing the world’s first home dialysis program to introducing revolutionary new treatments, our progress is rooted in the pioneering work of doctors and scientists.

Groundbreaking research, life-changing results

Our story begins with one piece of breakthrough research. In 1960, University of Washington physician Dr. Belding H. Scribner, who would later help found Northwest Kidney Centers, developed a way to make long-term dialysis possible for the first time. His ‘Scribner shunt’ has saved thousands of lives and inspired our ongoing commitment to improving the lives of people with kidney disease.


Kidney Research Institute

Together with the UW Medicine, we established the Kidney Research Institute in 2008. Made up of the region’s top investigators, the institute supports the prevention, early detection and treatment of kidney disease and its complications. Based at Harborview Medical Center and at our Haviland Pavilion in Seattle, the Kidney Research Institute uses findings from patient treatments to inform scientific investigations in the lab, and vice versa. It brings together experts in a range of disciplines including clinical medicine, pharmacology, genetics, pathology, psychology, education and physiology.


Research accomplishments and opportunities

Latest Kidney Research Institute newsletter

Kidney research opportunities for our patients

Our vision for kidney research

The Kidney Research Institute will:

  • be a world leader in clinical and translational research
  • focus on critical public health problems and larger numbers of kidney disease patients
  • explore novel discoveries that make a difference in people’s lives
  • focus on innovation and discovery
  • find therapies that increase life expectancy
  • work with teams of scientists across disciplines
  • integrate the scientific strength of UW Medicine with our clinical strengths to achieve more


Director Dr. Ian de Boer

Dr. Ian de Boer became Director of the KRI in May 2022, becoming the KRI’s second leader in its history following the departure of founding Director Dr. Jonathan Himmelfarb. Dr. de Boer has been in the role of KRI Associate Director since 2016 and is a highly acclaimed researcher for his expertise in diabetic kidney disease and vitamin D metabolism. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Ian went to Oregon Health Sciences University and did his residency at University of California San Francisco.

Find out more about the Kidney Research Institute

Dr. Ian de Boer, director of the Kidney Research Institute.

Why is kidney research so important?

Thirty million adult Americans have kidney disease. That’s more than one in ten. About 468,000 of them are on dialysis. If current trends continue, there will be more than 1.25 million patients with kidney failure in the U.S. in 2030.

After one year of treatment, people on dialysis have a 15 to 20 percent mortality rate. After five years on dialysis, their survival rate is under 50%. Those on dialysis are hospitalized on average twice per year, and this rate has not changed over time. We need to improve dialysis and that’s why we are dedicating $15 million over five years to the Center for Dialysis Innovation.

For reasons we don’t fully understand, cardiovascular disease is more frequent in people with chronic kidney disease. Most chronic kidney disease patients will not need to go on dialysis, because they are more likely to die from vascular disease first. We have no proven current therapies to lower cardiovascular risk in chronic kidney disease patients.

Compared to other serious health challenges, kidney disease has had the lowest number of randomized clinical trials over the past 35 years.

Support kidney research

We’re confident these hurdles can be overcome. Your support will help us discover new and better ways to prevent, detect and treat kidney disease.

Donate to kidney research now